Revive An Old PC Or Chromebook

Chrome OS On An Old Computer

Old PCs can still be useful even after viability. Installing Chrome OS on your old computer is a perfect option for that old machine. Chrome OS Flex is a version that you can install on almost anything. Flex can be installed on almost any computer manufactured in the last 10 years. The only recommended requirement that yours may not have is 4GB of RAM. PCs with 2GB may not be a problem. I installed Flex on a computer with 2GB and it seemed to be no problem. (Your experience maybe different.

Install Flex On A PC

Bring An Old Chromebook Back to Life

I no longer own a Chromebook, but I do have a Chromebox that is end of life. Meaning Google or that the manufacture will not provide updates for the software (Chrome OS). The biggest problem being updating the Google Chrome Web Browser. When Chrome gets very out-of-date most SSL/TLS secured sites secured areas (logins) will not work. On Windows, Mac, and Linux you can upgrade the Chrome browser even if your OS is out-of-date, but not in Chrome OS. The browser is integrated into Chrome OS. I hear the Chromium Project is decoupling the browser from the OS, and this will no longer be a problem.

How I Fixed My Chromebox

Installing Chrome OS Flex on a PC is relatively easy, even for a novice geek; that said installing it on a Chromebox is quite a feat. The difficulty is the factory firmware will not permit you to install Flex. It will only allow the Chrome OS that was meant for that device. Writing Flex to the disk you have to change the firmware, it requires some relatively sophisticated hacking.

The RAM Requirement

Earlier I mention that Chrome OS Flex may not actually need the 4GB of RAM specified, this is why I am skeptical of that requirement.

My Asus CN60 Chromebox on has 2GB and before I tried the install I ordered more RAM. I only needed 2 more GIGs but all I could purchase was 8 GB. It was cheap enough, under $28, so I ordered it. Not wanting to wait for the RAM I decided to try the install without the upgrade. After working for some significant time learning how to do the firmware upgrade and succeeding, I easily installed Flex. I fired up the Chromebox and it ran great. Two days later I installed the new RAM stick and I don’t think there was a noticeable difference. In the future I might do something that might require a Chrome OS device with 10 GIGs of RAM.

I have not been able to find the instructions I used to do the upgrade including the firmware. also I used instructions for a Chromebox not a Chromebook. Getting into Recovery Mode is different. Chromebooks use the keyboard, Chromeboxes you push a paperclip into a hole to press an internal button. You’ll need to find your own instructions.

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